“You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are confident. You are strong.”
Taylor Thornton repeats this mantra every morning when she wakes up and heads to Cal State Fullerton.
The biological science major dreams of becoming a veterinarian — one day donning a white lab coat and a stethoscope, going to work in a wildlife reservation or a zoo, and caring for lions, elephants and other large animals.
Despite an early consciousness that “most scientists didn’t look like her” and words of defeat from a high school counselor, Thornton says her course was altered by an acceptance letter to CSUF.
Thornton recently shared her experiences through a spoken word poem titled “Black Girl Scientist” at the University’s Black History Month Reception.
A self-described introvert, Thornton found a community — and her voice — through several campus groups, including the Afro-Ethnic Student Association, Sistertalk, National Society of Black Engineers, Divine Servants and the African American Resource Center.
“Throughout junior high and high school, I wasn’t comfortable speaking about things so I would write them down,” she said. “In college, I got the courage to perform and ever since then, poetry has become a passion.
“One of the reasons I love being a Titan is that I have had the opportunity to learn more about diversity and what it means to be an ally and to stand in solidarity with others,” said Thornton. “I must remind myself to use my power and gift of speech to advocate for others, and to bring others up with me so we can all succeed together.”
Hoping her words can inspire others, especially future “black girl scientists,” Thornton also acknowledges the many individuals on campus who have helped her reach higher.
“For little girls, especially black girl scientists, my advice is to find a book that you love with a character that is strong,” she said. “See their strengths in you, and just imagine that every day.
“There will be times where you will feel dejected and down. It comes with all levels of success. But, no matter what, you must love yourself and remember that you are strong, you are beautiful, you are worthy and you were placed on this earth for a purpose — and you have to go get that purpose.”